4 Dollars for the best entertainment around

February 8, 2009

I started this column back in August and have revived it based on the current heat-wave. Bear in mind when it was originally penned the weather outside was far from frightful and my vehicle of choice was my orange scooter named Scootle. Enjoy…

This morning I sat at a local Barnes & Noble store looking the part of the starving writer, composing a column on my iPhone while sipping a black tea.

As I pecked out words with a single finger, I wondered why people gravitate to a venue that offers overpriced food and drink, uninformed staff (except for the lifers who love books), proprietary wifi and skinflinty clients.

Don’t jump on me for calling kettles cheap, I was at this B&N to meet someone. But I will concede I was too thrifty to spend $4 for two hours of Internet access. Especially when I could hop on the scooter and Wijack at the mall or at Panera down the street.

Further characteristics that drag this particular bookstore down are its proximity to towns where the populace is dotted with SUV-driving moms who can hardly manage to pilot their craft in a traffic lane, much less position them in a parking spot. This means the lot I saw out the window was a breathing example of Badparking.com.

Digression seems to make my pecking finger ache, what with all the added typing, so to the point I’ll proceed. Where are all the breakthroughs?

That is, where are the cars that park themselves between parking stripes, where are the intelligent scanners at the doorway that don’t go off when you ENTER the store, where are the coffee clerks who can leave room enough for milk and sugar in a cup of tea or coffee, where are the transporters, and where are the free Wifi zones so people can connect to the Internet anywhere?

Seriously, why does anyone get their coffee poured right to the top of the cup if they’re going to add condiments? They just pour off 1/10 of the fluid into a plastic bag or stagnant carafe at the coffee station. Wake up. You paid $6 for that coffee, stop wasting it. Extrapolate the value and a cup of coffee is 16 times more expensive than a gallon of gas. Would you pay $64 for a gallon of gas and then pour off $6 of it? I didn’t think so.

When my mind wasn’t wandering this morning, my friend Matthew and I spent a few minutes discussing the next big things. We decided that if anyone had any brains at all, they’d be focusing on building the infrastructure to service any number of products coming to market in the next few years.

An iPhone unlocking technician, a flying car mechanic and a coffee recycling centers all over the nation were just the tip of the iceberg. I actually can’t tell you here what we really came up with because Google will likely want to buy our intellectual property soon. But it was along the lines I’ve mentioned above.

Speaking of lines, people can’t keep themselves within those painted on the pavement. In fact, while standing and bidding each other adieux, Matthew and I were almost run into by a woman in an SUV. She pulled into a spot next to my scooter and parked slighly over the line into my spot.

After a slight verbal spar that didn’t come to blows, but could have, Matthew and the woman came to the understanding that she was a female dog and that he should try some anatomically difficult act with himself.

My take on the entire afternoon, from the expensive coffee to quasi-trained staff and idiot women drivers, was that for four dollars I never would have been able to get similar entertainment anywhere else. Not the movies, not the free Internet and not at a coffee shoppe.

I consider it an investment in living. And for $4, that’s pretty darn affordable.